Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting fired - part 4

Actually getting fired

You have done all you can, maybe you're too blame and maybe you're not. Maybe no one is to be blamed. But the time has finally arrived. The manager wants you to come to his desk, he may or may not be accompanied by a project leader or not... you already know what's coming, before you enter his desk.

There may be a lot of emotions going through your mind, but I'm here to tell you how you should react.

They will ask you to sit down and they will tell you they have to 'let you go' (they can not say something like "Welcome to dumpsville, population: You!", can they?).
It will come as a shock. Especially for people who didn't expect it, but even if you did sense something, there will still be a bit of a shock.

Whatever is going through your mind: Stay calm!
It's best to let it sink in for a minute or so, before saying anything.
Perhaps you're sad or angry and that's normal, but keep that to yourself. It doesn't matter if you get angry anyway, it will only make things worse. You have to realize that, once the verdict has been said, you are out. There's nothing that can be done about it anymore.
Let your emotions out in your free time, but this is not the right time! Suck it up, try to be as calm as possible and once it sunk in, it's time to find out the reason why they fire you.
The world does not end when you are fired, it's just your contract with this one company. There are a lot of companies in the world, in your region even... you can make a pick later and join another company. It seems harsh to immediately start thinking about your next job, but you'll have to do it. It's time to get answers.

Gathering information

It's time to find out why they fire you. Remember that companies are out to make money. In many cases, getting fired, does not mean you are a bad employer. And even if they think you are, they might still be wrong. But to them, it's all about making money. It's all business.

So why shouldn't you, being an employee, be considered as a business? They sell products or services and make a lot of money in the process. You sell your time (the time you work for the company) in order to get a paycheck. It's all business, the only difference is that they make tons of money and you get a miserable paycheck. But you being an employee is still a business!

Once you realize that, you are actually seeing that your business is taking a downturn. It happens to all businesses. Time to study, do some research and reinvest, to improve your business. Let me translate: time to find out why they fire you, so you can work on that at your next job.

This is the time to ask why they fire you, if they didn't mention it already. It's important to be understanding, calm (I keep repeating this, because it might be a problem for many people) and ask your questions in a calm and respectful manner. Even if they disrespect(ed) you (before), stay calm and supress your emotions. Remember, you are gathering information to be secure your next job.

If anything remains unclear, ask questions. But be short and to the point. Don't ask obvious questions. Actually, here's a list of questions you can ask:
  • 'And what would be the reason that you fire me?' (after they give a reason, say 'ok' or 'I understand')
  • 'And what happens now? Do I have to leave immediately or...?'
  • 'Do you have any remarks or tips that could help me with my next job?'
  • 'Is their any paperwork I need to fill in?'
I don't think there's anything more you could ask. For the paperwork, they'll probably redirect you to the HR department or payroll dept. or whatever it's called in your company. Once you are there, you can ask more questions about the paperwork.

In Belgium, you get a C4. You need that to be able to get money during unemployment. But your only unemployed after a safety period. For workers that would be 7 days, for people with a 9-5 job it's usually 3 months. (I know, that difference is not fair...)
You also get 2 half days/week holiday, which you can use to update your resume and for job interviews. They are called Sollicitation Holidays in Belgium. Use them.

It's also important to note, that they still have a lot of paperwork to arrange. If they see you take it well and respect their decision, they will respect you back and try to take care of that paperwork as soon as possible. This depends on the company off course, but you only know this when it's too late, so you better don't take any chances.
The good thing about 'getting fired' is, that you get an extra salary bonus and the holidays you have left, you can take with you. So at your next job, during the first year, you'll have extra holidays.


You got fired. Time to think about what to do next. Take the time to think about what to do next. Don't try to pick the same job if you didn't like it. A different experience or career will be good for you.
And remember: working is business too! A new job, means new experiences that could help you, either in your search for the ultimate job or in enrichening yourself personally.
Take a chance, don't be affraid to dare... your contract has been terminated, but you gained experience and it made you grow. Time to let another employer know this, so he can give you new experience.
Good luck finding a new job, if you're looking for one!